Going Direct: The Madman All Pilots Should Thank

If you’re a GA flyer like me, you owe a lot to this guy, who’s got your back when it comes to the FAA.

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There’s one person in aviation who’s responsible for a lot of great things happening for almost every GA pilot in the United States, regardless of what you fly, where you fly it, how far or high you go or what color your parachute is, if you even have one. And the funny part is, a lot of pilots have no idea who I’m referring to, because they take their privileges for granted. Good thing this guy doesn’t.

The guy I’m talking about, as many of you have already figured out, is Senator James Inhofe from Oklahoma, who might be the best friend in a high place that GA has ever had. When I call him a madman, I use the term in the very best sense, to describe a person who’s passionate and won’t rest until they get the good work done. Senator Inhofe was the creator and sponsor of both the Pilots Bill of Rights and the Pilots Bill of Rights 2, or PBR and PBR2. The driving force behind both was Inhofe’s passion for getting the entrenched bureaucracy at the FAA to be kinder and fairer to us pilots, who in many ways get an unfair shake, he feels (and we agree). He’s worked to dismantle rules that make no sense (like the Third Class Medical), to cut down on the FAA’s autocratic approach to discipline (of which he too has been a victim) and to give pilots who have certain medical conditions the right to fair and streamlined treatment by the FAA.

The Senate has passed the legislation to revamp our medical certification. We’d be able to fly IFR or VFR, to carry as many as five passengers in a plane up to 6,000 pounds and to head up as high s 18,000 feet, limitations we can certainly live with.

Now it’s the House’s turn to pass their version of the legislation, for which there are more than 150 House sponsors. It’s not a slam dunk, but it’s a good bet they will. Then, after the two bills are reconciled, it would go to the president for his signature, which he gave to the original PBR.

Thanks, Senator. And godspeed to PBR2.

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